ANKARA—By announcing that Syrian Kurds were allegedly attempting to cross the Euphrates, Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday confirmed that his country’s military attacked Kurds within Syria, who are working with the United States in its fight against the Islamic State.
“We have said ‘PYD will not cross west of the Euphrates, we will hit them the moment they do’ and we have struck them twice,” Davutoglu said, referring to the He referring to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG that is known in Turkey as the PYD.
Davutoglu did not pinpoint the location of the attacks, but Syrian Kurds had accused Turkish forces of attacking them in two border towns over the weekend through Monday.
According Agence France-Presse Monday, the YPG, said in a statement, “The Turkish army targeted yesterday (Saturday), and the morning of Oct. 25, positions held by our units along the border with Tal Abyad.”
Since the US began its campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, it has built an alliance with the YPG in fighting the radical Muslim group in northern Syria and Iraq.
This latest attack on the Kurds in Syria, which escalated last month after Turkey increased its cooperation with the US by, among other provisions, allowing US fighter jets to use Turkish bases, is being viewed by many observers and Kurds as a ploy by the Turkish government to increase tensions ahead of the November 1 parliamentary elections.
The government apparently isn’t satisfied with ongoing conflict in the country and seems to be eager to declare war against the Syrian Kurdish region, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said, adding that the government wanted to “make the situation convenient to virtually declare war” on the Syrian Kurdish region.
“[Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoğlu is making proud statements that there have been attacks and interventions directed there [the Syrian Kurdish region] on the eve of the [Nov. 1 snap] elections. I want to state that it is a shame,” he said, referring to Davutoglu’s statement confirming the attack on Syrian Kurds.
“While the PYD hasn’t carried out any threat against Turkey and while the Syrian Kurds have been extending their hands of fraternity and peace to Turkey, Davutoglu’s consideration of the PYD as a threat instead of considering ISIL as a threat there is a shame for him,” added Demirtas.